|Posted by gramma on April 24, 2016 at 3:25 PM|
Our fourth and last week in Athens has come to an end. We lost a few readers in our last week but many continued to come just about every day. We have totaled 359 hours of reading over the last four weeks, with over 70 different people. Some have gotten as far as Lesson 16 in our Luke books. We have had good discussions when the reader's level of English allowed it. We have many readers who are very interested in what we are reading and not just the English. We had our hand off meeting yesterday with Dino and Demetrios and they will be trying to keep contact with several of the readers and provide them with more English but also to provide them with more of who Jesus is.
For those of you who are wondering, Steve's reader who was picked up by the police last week remains in custody, but apparently he is doing well. But continue to pray for him and his wife. Because she also does not have proper documentation, she can't visit him, but a good friend, who has a valid document has been able to visit about every day.
Much of what we have included in the blog has been about the refugee situation here in Greece. We should also say a bit more about Greece itself. The country finds itself in a financial crisis; however, it is not that evident to us visitors. The city of Athens has a wonderful Metro system, it is beautiful and efficient; we ride it every day. It was built in time for the 2004 Olympics and I think cost overruns contributed to the debt that Greece has built up with the European Union. Tourists are everywhere in Greece even though it is not yet the high season. Admittedly we live and work in a nicer part of Athens, but it seems like most places we have been are well-maintained and we haven't seen a lot of empty building or abandoned construction projects except when we were driving through smaller towns across the country.
The Greeks seem to be quite proud of their role in the Second World War. After Italy failed to invade Greece early in the war, evidently the Germans were forced to alot part of the military units that would have gone to the Russian front to the invasion of Greece, which took longer that planned to accomplish. The ultimate defeat of the Germans in Russia is thus at least partially due to stubborn resistance from the Greeks. Of course Germany took out their frustration of losing in Russia on the Greeks. Consequently, there are still some hard feelings on the part of both the Germans and the Greeks, which doesn't help the current finincial situation.
On Sunday we had a multi-cultural worhsip experience at the church. There were Greeks, Russian-speakers (from Ukraine and Russia), Persian-speakers (from Iran and Afghanistan), a few of us English-speaking Americans and a group from a Romanian church that sang several songs for us. The service was mostly in Greek with English translation. After worship, the church fed everyone. They have about a dozen stainless steel baking pans that we filled with potatoes, zucchini and chicken before worship, then they took them to a local bakery and they baked them during worship. We cut up cucumbers and tomatoes for a salad and cabbage for another. Now we know how to cook for an intimate party of 100!
That's right, there were nearly 100 people there, including 25 readers who brought about 10 other friends with them. We sang in Greek and English, we listened to songs in Romanian and Russian and we prayed in Greek and English. After beginning at about 10:30 it was nearly 2:30 before it was over. There were a few tears shed and lots and lots of pictures taken. It was really hard to say goodbye to this group. Most of the Iranians are in their 20's and most don't expect to ever see their parents again so we became their temporary parents.
We pray that seeds of faith have been planted through our efforts here and more than ever before we hope to keep in contact with some of our readers so we can find out where God leads them.